Tasmanian AMA issues warning
The AMA says Tasmania’s hospital system has decayed to the point that it is now unsafe.
The president of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Dr Stuart Day, has “no confidence” in Tasmania's health system management.
Dr Day criticised Tasmanian Health Service (THS) boss Dr David Alcorn for not delivering.
“We believe that the CEO doesn't have the skill set or the ability to implement the vision,” he said.
“There has been a dismantling of the past internal structures, without something being put in that place that is functional.
“Unfortunately, the THS is plagued by governance dysfunction, deteriorating patient safety indicators, worsening hospital overcrowding and a toxic, bureaucratic culture that is placing the welfare of patients and staff at risk.”
The THS was formed in July 2015 by combining three separate health administrations in the north-west, north and south of the state.
It was designed to create a single, state-wide system for the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.
Dr Day said it was not going smoothly.
“There currently isn't a structure in place that is allowing the day-to-day running of hospitals to occur — that in itself is the major failure,” he said.
“If you have a busy day and your hospital is full, there is no process to manage that demand.
“There's no delegated authority that allows them to respond to [daily] issues, to address safety concerns, drive safety improvements, implement changes.
“All of that doesn't exist at the moment, and it has decayed over the last 12 months. That's why our hospitals are less safe.”
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said it was disappointing.
“I understand that some doctors have issues with some personnel in our health system, but I want to make it very clear I have every confidence in our management team to do their job in what are difficult circumstances,” he said.
“I suggest that it is most appropriate that these personnel issues should be worked through in a professional and constructive way, not 'personality politics' via the media.”
Dr Alcorn has backed the Minister's response to the matter.
Frank Nicklason, chairman of the Royal Hobart Hospital's Medical Staff Association, supported the AMA’s sentiments.
“In my opinion the AMA is appropriately concerned about the safety and quality of public health services and the competence of the current THS executive leadership team,” he said.
“The THS executive has failed to develop the necessary trust relationships with senior THS clinicians.
“It has been the experience of many of those clinicians that THS executives have simply not believed in the authenticity of those clearly expressed concerns and calls for help.
“That this situation has been allowed to fail patients and staff so spectacularly is outrageous.”